While we’re counting the days left until the world premiere of the M4 CSL, BMW reminds us it has another hot M product on the way. Arriving in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the M3 Touring has been decades in the making. We’re speaking figuratively as it wasn’t until the current G21 when the engineers received the go-ahead from the higher-ups to develop a production M car. The M3 E46 Touring from 2000 never evolved past the concept stage, but 22 years later, a road-going M3 with a long roof is finally happening.
In the latest teaser video, the M3 Touring G81 is being pushed hard around the Nürburgring where the M division is putting the finishing touches on the AMG C63 Estate rival. You might be wondering why BMW didn’t bother to cover up the prototype’s dashboard. It’s because they used a pre-LCI car as a foundation, but rest assured the production version will switch to the iDrive 8 setup with the curved display.
We get to learn the work-in-progress M3 Touring has been pushed to 168 mph (270 km/h) and BMW M has made aerodynamic changes specifically for the wagon. The general impression we’re getting is the more practical body style has received as much attention as the traditional M3 Sedan or M4 Coupe rather than being an afterthought. While many would argue the M SUVs are BMW’s best all-rounders, we would happily take the wagon over any performance X model.
There’s no manual gearbox lever inside the cabin for a good reason – the M3 Touring will be sold only in the Competition guise, so exclusively with the eight-speed automatic. The X3 M alternative with 503 horsepower on tap appears to be in its element despite its family-oriented shape with its extra focus on practicality over outright performance. It’s a real shame the model has already been ruled out from the US due to prohibitive homologation costs.
Pause the video around the 5:56 mark and you can see the front brakes glowing, which is obviously a sign the M3 Touring prototype was being trashed around the Nordschleife. Tweaks to the suspension and chassis have been made to negate the extra bulk of the wagon as much as possible. It’s unlikely to be as sharp as an M3 saloon, but it’ll be a compromise worth making for the ideal one-car garage.
Source: BMW M / YouTube